What are raisins?
Raisins are ripe and dried fruits of grapes that are sold under different names in the market about the type of grapes, the method, and conditions of drying, and the additives. They can be found throughout the year like other nuts.
Characteristics of Raisin
Raisins are full of Iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B group. Besides, raisins contain antioxidants properties that help prevent cellular destruction. A suitable amount of fibers in the raisins empower memory and protect people against Alzheimer. Selenium in raisins is also good for the skin. Raisins are also beneficial for bone health due to the high amount of calcium.
Production of Raisin
Iran is the third-largest producer of grapes in the world, but it is the best in raisins production by turning 130,000 tons of grapes into raisins, annually which is 37% of all produced grapes (about 4 million tons) in this country.
Raisins were produced in Iran and Egypt about 5 years BC. Now, Iran has the third rank in the world for grape production and raisins export. Last year, about 120,000 tons of raisins were produced in our country and 113,000 tons were exported to more than 100 countries all over the world.
Raisins are also the most common dried fruits in the United States. The most common type of raisins in this country is “Thompson seedless raisins”. Other types such as Muscat and Sultana are also produced in the USA. The most qualified raisins produced in the US for export, are usually planted and dried in California.
Consumption of Raisin
Raisins were consumed for different reasons from ancient times till now. Raisins were used as a prize for people decorating places of worship and for sports winners in Ancient Rome. Iranian Farmers produce many types of raisins to be used in cooking and making herbal remedies.
Types of raisins and their production methods
A cold emulsion containing a mixture of potassium carbonate and raisin oil (Australian oil) is used to make green raisins. The grapes are cleaned after harvesting and immersed in this emulsion and then hung on strands of wire in the sanitary warehouse to dry.
The whole process of making this kind of raisins is like green raisins except using sulfur gas to make smoked raisins. After dipping grapes in warm water, the sulfur powder is poured into a small tray and burned. So, grapes are coated with sulfur dioxide which makes them stay golden throughout the drying process.
Some kind of small, sweet, seedless grape called “Black Corinth” is used to make currants. For this purpose, the grapes are spread after harvesting in a clean place, and after drying; they are collected and stored in some large baskets.